Student Success Act is not the answer
The House will be debating the Student Success Act in the coming weeks. If passed, the bill would undermine the historical purpose of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act by dismantling 45 years of policy committed to ensuring disadvantaged children are provided a high-quality education.
• The bill provides historically low funding for education, in line with sequestration.
• It allows states and districts to redirect funds intended to assist specific populations of students away from those students, either to other children or for other general purposes.
• Despite Republican rhetoric about the federal government not being involved in local decisions, the bill mandates teacher evaluations and prescribes the terms.
• The GOP is expected to add a voucher amendment to the bill.
The Student Success Act is not the answer. It shirks our responsibility to ensure all students, regardless of their ZIP code, have access to a high-quality public education.
Retired teacher, Tucson
F-35s over Tucson aren't a good idea
Re: the July 10 letter to the editor "F-35 assignments a victory for Arizona."
That letter ended with, "Now let's get these planes down to Tucson!" Let's not.
Why should we have not only the most expensive airplane we build but also the noisiest fly over a densely populated city like Tucson? The writer probably doesn't know that the F-35 is a single-engine plane and if that engine develops a problem in the air, there is no second engine to help.
On Oct. 26, 1978, a single-engine plane wound up landing by the University of Arizona near Mansfield Middle School and two people died.
What is needed to convince people not to have a single-engine plane fly over a city of over 500,000 people?
Trains are an idea that's past its time
Re: the July 10 article "Tucson-Phoenix rail plan detailed."
If the Arizona Department of Transportation gets its way, Arizona taxpayers could be on the hook for as much as $10 billion for funding a passenger railroad between Phoenix and Tucson.
ADOT Director John Holikowski cites "tremendous support" for the idea. From whom?
Yes, it will create jobs to build, furnish and maintain the railroad. But who is going to realistically ride it? A couple of hundred passengers going from one airport to another. Some commuters who live close to a station and their office is in downtown Phoenix or Tucson. What about those whose workplace or personal destination is far from a station? Will they have economical and convenient transportation available to and from their destination?
Passenger trains were the right transportation solution until the 1940s. Don't carve up more desert with an idea that's past its time. Let's apply our public resources on worthwhile undertakings.
Tucson's diversity a tremendous asset
What we have in Tucson is diversity over homogeneity, a strength that can be frustrating to those not overly in tune with this reality, trying to impose upon it some kind of anonymous, "big box," mall model of "new." How did we ever attract Biosphere 2, NASA, Raytheon and other world-class cutting edge technologies into our orbit? Tucson already has a solid, established scientific frontier - in the Old Pueblo! We've always been on the frontier. Tucson was on the frontier of expansion by the Spanish, of American conquest of the West, and now we are on the frontier of adaptation to climate change. Call it a solar frontier if you will.
We don't need to destroy or abandon our heritage, the unique identity of the Old Pueblo, to move ahead. The "new" we need is fresh, progressive attitudes in our leadership; the ability to think "outside the box."
How much did bland new slogan cost?
Re: the July 14 column "'Old Pueblo' our essence, not our future."
I am simply overwhelmed by the fact that Visit Tucson has come up with such an exquisitely original and heartwarming new slogan for our Old Pueblo: "Free Yourself." I imagine it will utterly magnetize those "out there" who will unshackle themselves from bondage and arrive in droves to make their fortunes in this town of liberty. I wonder how much the bill was for the work of those obviously brilliant minds for such an enervating slogan.
Unused TUSD schools can house animals
Re: the July 18 article "'Look in your heart,' adopt a pet who's in urgent need."
I have a solution to the overcrowding at Pima Animal Care Center. Take just one of the 13 unused schools being shut down by TUSD and turn it into a temporary animal shelter. Ask for volunteers in the surrounding neighborhoods to help care for the animals. I'll be the first one to volunteer for the night shift at Brichta Elementary School.